The West Bloomfield High School Literary Garden is designed to encourage and delight student readers in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Over the last academic year, English teacher Jennifer McQuillan has created a tangible connection to literature for her students --the Literary Garden.  This unique project, the first of its kind in a secondary school setting, repurposes neglected courtyard space for a garden featuring plants collected from the homesteads, museums, and gravesites of American authors, along with those plants that feature prominently in their narratives. The garden showcases the plants connected to over 30 authors, including several plants from The Old Manse, the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson; lyreleaf sage and periwinkle from Alice Walker’s family gravesite in Georgia; bearded white irises from Flannery O’Connor’s Andalusia Farm; and a pear tree bringing to life the central symbol in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Even though the Literary Garden is in its beginning stages, it has already mobilized an entire school community around the promotion of literacy. Covered in numerous local media outlets (notably the Detroit Free Press, and even nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition (, the Literary Garden has inspired droves of former and current students, parents, and other community members, such as local writers and master gardeners, to volunteer their time and expertise to creating a space to get students outside in a natural environment that represents the kinds of American landscapes that inspired these writers in the first place. 

Join these legendary writers and leave YOUR legacy in the Literary Garden by purchasing and personalizing a tile that will become part of the wall surrounding the garden.

Tiles are a wonderful, long-lasting gift for commemorating a student’s graduation, special school achievement, or other important moments in life.  Leave a symbol to honor the seminal events and people in your life in a beautiful space dedicated to the writers that have deeply shaped our culture.

Funding from the tiles will allow the Literary Garden to expand as a teaching resource for WBHS.  Interdisciplinary collaborations with art, drama, and science have already begun and should continue.  Funding will make the creation of a comfortable and permanent outdoor classroom space possible, a feature that supports current thinking about the benefits of students’ increased exposure to natural light and green settings in their school environment. 

Tiles are 6x6 ceramic with WBHS Literary Logo and two lines of customizable text.

The cost support to the WBHS Literary Garden is $125.000 per tile.